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Red Chrysanthemum (Sano Ichiro #11)

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  685 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
July 1698. Sano Ichiro, the samurai detective who has risen to become the shogun's second-in-command, is investigating rumors of a plot to overthrow the ruling regime. When the investigation brings Sano's deputy Hirata to Lord Mori's estate, he is shocked to find Lord Mori murdered and grotesquely mutilated in his own bed, and Sano's pregnant wife, Reiko, lying beside him. ...more
Hardcover, 298 pages
Published November 14th 2006 by Minotaur Books (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,406)
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Kevin Vrieze
May 20, 2016 Kevin Vrieze rated it liked it
In general I love reading the Sano series. This story, for all the flaws, was still worth the read. While one accepts that the focus of the story was Reiko and her steps to solve both her case and the charges against both her and Sano. In this case her independence nearly brings them down. another question that came to mind was, given the poison motif, one almost expected to see Yanagisawa's wife also make an appearance.

Hirata, as a character develops nicely, if a little predictably. A question
Aug 05, 2014 Johnny rated it liked it
Laura Joh Rowland recreates the Edo era in Japanese history with the kind of machinations and political intrigue that one would expect in one of Sharon Kay Penman’s historical novels based in Medieval England. Then, she manages to weave the intricate pas de deux of a married couple where both partners have superior ability and intellect. Although both spouses manage to conduct their individual lives with courage, creativity, and dignity, it is when those lives become enmeshed in the greater cons ...more
Mar 23, 2014 Katherine rated it it was amazing
Acting on an anonymous tip, Sano Ichirio's chief retainer raids the estate of a powerful lord, looking for proof of a conspiracy against the regime. He finds the suspect lord murdered, and Sano's wife holding the knife that killed him. Lady Reiko claims she had legitimate business of her own at the lord's estate, but she can't explain how she came to be present at the crime scene. Conflicting witness testimony paints a different picture from what Reiko remembers, one that incriminates her furthe ...more
The more things change for San Ichiro, the more they seem to stay the same: He and his wife are still having trust issues, he and his chief retainer continue to find new ways to strain their friendship, and his arch nemesis has once again returned to wreak havoc (and just when you thought he might actually sit this one out for a change!). Despite his new position as Honorable Chamberlain, Sano once again finds himself investigating a murder, and once again it's all he can do to keep his own neck ...more
Sep 19, 2014 Sae-chan rated it liked it
There are some points in this story that don't sit well with me.

As a detective, Sano's first reaction was always doubting what the witness said? As a good detective he should have been able to differentiate reliable witness from the lying ones, even from the subjective ones. And this is his wife we were talking about. Hard to believe.

As Hirata was learning the esoteric side of martial arts, he was neglecting his current duty? This is contradictory. Noone can learn the esoteric side of anything w
Apr 24, 2009 Kayeb rated it liked it
I always enjoy these books to a point....I read them with out putting them down several times to read other books, I don't find them boring, and even so, they are not books I would go out of my way to recommend. Perhaps it is the overall theme of duty and the samuri life style, which is so foreign I have a difficult time really engaging with the philosophy of the books. Perhaps it is the somewhat stilted writing, which I do think is "in character" with the time period and the culture. Whatever i ...more
Sep 16, 2011 Aidan rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I ended up feeling somewhat torn in how I felt about Red Chrysanthemum. It was my first exposure to Rowland's samurai detective Sano Ichiro and though I liked the central character and found the twisting plot quite compelling, I did feel that I had not picked an ideal place in the series to start as there seemed to be many references to past investigations (which I assume were featured in previous novels).

Rowland does a good job of describing and illustrating Japanese culture, making the most of
May 07, 2008 Ellee rated it liked it
In this installment of Laura Joh Rowland's series starring Sano Ichiro (he has various titles depending on how far along in the series you are), we find disturbing parallels to the news in the contemporary United States - the horrors of child molestation and child murder. Rowland explores the political intrigue and dangers surrounding exposing & proving these charges in the setting of feudal Japan. More a thriller than a mystery, Sano and his wife, Lady Reiko, find themselves trapped by the ...more
Nov 27, 2011 Libby rated it it was amazing
This is the eleventh adventure of Sano Ichiro and his wife Reiko. Sano is an official in the administration of the Shogun and his controlling cousin Lord Matsudairo. Sano has the misfortune to be second only to Lord Matsudairo and this is both the source of his power and his jeopardy. Medieval Japan was a time of despots and wannabes, all ruthless, all jealous and all suspicious of their underlings. In this twisty tale, Reiko is found naked in the bedroom of perverted Lord Mori, asleep next to h ...more
Mar 04, 2012 Opal rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Sano Ichiro’s pregnant wife Lady Reiko has been found next to the mutilated and bloody corpse of Lord Mori. Not only is she accused of his murder, Sano stands accused of treason. The two of them must face these charges together or be executed together.

This book didn’t have much to recommend itself to. I found the characters acting in a manner that was very unlike the Japanese culture in which this book was set in. This may have been the point, but it rankled.

Sano went around accusing all the sus
Jan 15, 2009 Svenja rated it liked it
Shelves: japan
This is the eleventh book of the Sano Ichiro mysteries. The setting is Japan during the edo period (around 1700 ), Sano is a police officer in the beginning of the series but rises higher and currently is the chamberlain. He solves crimes together with his wife Reiko (and some friends, mainly a guy named Hirata, from the police). I love all the books, mainly because of the setting. They are interenstingly written and the characters are nicely portrayed too.

The eleventh book of the series is abou
Judith Reed
Feb 03, 2016 Judith Reed rated it liked it
Almost too far fetched to be able to believe. Again Rowland brings in the practice of "man love" and adds a detail that is shocking. I am beginning to wonder what Rowland has against men and young boys for so many of the stories (this #11) to include these behaviors. Again there are more twist and turns to lead the reader to think everyone could be the possible killer.
May 27, 2010 Lisa rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, mysteries
Rowland's strengths are in plot, not prose. This book is a complex, gripping story told with an appalling lack of finesse. In seemingly every paragraph, the author presents striking visual images and deep emotions with all the blunt force of a heavy club, rather than a delicate paintbrush! The dialogue feels much too colloquial-American-thriller for the time and place ("You can take your offer and shove it up your behind."). And just when you think things couldn't get nastier (castration, pedoph ...more
Jan 24, 2008 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A murder mystery set in 17th century Edo among the samurai set. Characters include an effete Shogun, a scheming Lord whole really has the power, the noble Chamberlain and his wife, detectives, a depraved daimyo, various vassals and peasants. Large amounts of blood, sex, political intrigue and observations about social class and customs.

A pretty good read, but not very challenging. Not up to the level of "literature", but a page-turner once it gets going. Should be considered by anyone intereste
Mar 07, 2009 Caroline rated it really liked it
Recommended to Caroline by: Xarah
I'd always enjoyed the Sano Ichiro novels for their nice mix of murder mysteries, action and thriller in one, and this definitely didn't disappoint in that regard. I'd been putting off reading it for a couple of years now for whatever reasons, and the poor reviews it received definitely didn't make me any more eager to pick it up. Luckily, while a lot of readers seem to think this one wasn't any good, I enjoyed it quite a bit!

I'd forgotten how much of a page-turner Rowland's novels can be, and h
One of the most mystifying (and intriguing) books in this series yet. I honestly had no idea how she was going to get Reiko out of it. However, I didn't like that so much of the crucial information was stuff that happened outside of the books, and therefore as a reader I was unable to use those things to try and think things through.
Mar 08, 2007 George rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Historical mystery readers
Eleventh in a series of historial Japanese mysteries (end of the 17th century) involving Sano Ichiro and his wife Reiko. In the series, Sano has risen from the ranks of a low samurai police chief in Edo to the position of Lord Chamberlain, the Shogun's second of command. In this mystery, his position and life along with his wife's are threatened with the murder of a prominent daimyo figure. Chief suspect in his death is Reiko. The story involves sevral people's reflections as to what happened an ...more
Feb 17, 2013 Snap rated it it was ok
I always enjoy getting reacquainted with Sano Ichiro, his wife Reiko, their friends and retainers. When I first discovered this series, I busily read them all in order and then I took a break. Now, I'm trying to catch up. Sano Ichiro is now the shogun's second in command and therefore, always trying to protect his back while trying to keep the current regime from being overthrown. Sano's deputy Hirata is called to Lord Mori's estate and finds Mori murdered and Lady Reiko is accused of murder. Bu ...more
Dec 03, 2012 Aoi rated it it was amazing
How nice it was to return to Tokugawa Edo with Sano Ichiro mysteries!

The characters have movedforward since the last time. Sano Ichiro, Lord Chamberlain, is now 40 and immersed in his duties to the shogun and keeping his head safe from the sword. Lady Reiko is expecting once more, but this time around, she is the prime suspect in the murder of Lord Mori.

One thing I likeabout these story, is that the characters actually age ::ahemJDRobbahem:: Ms. Rowland also tries a different tactic to storytel
Renée Fontenot
Feb 23, 2016 Renée Fontenot rated it liked it
One of the bleakest books in the series left me wondering if it all would come out right. Dismaying, but satisfying.
Jan 17, 2012 Katharina rated it really liked it
When I started reading I never thought that I would end up liking the book. But there were lots of twists and turns that made up for some of the events in the beginning that made me squirm.

I will never really like Reiko... and even Hinata used to be a better character in the past, but there is always Sano, who is a great character and he manages to make up for all the others.

There were moments in the book where I just wanted to put it aside because Reiko was so stupid. But if you get past the be
It's always nice to read these books, because they never fail to bring a smile to my face, being so straightforward and simple, but this one was a bit too close to stupid. I can't stand "Lady" Reiko, because idiocy holds for her a great appeal. If there is something idiotic to do, she will do it, dontcha worry, because confusion is needed to launch the story. Then all the other characters will scurry around her and try to undo whatever she did. As they are not that bright themselves, there will ...more
Jun 23, 2015 Lynn rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. Of course I love everything about Sano Ichiro.
Jun 12, 2012 Indrani rated it liked it
I had completely forgotten about this series - mysteries aren't usually my thing, and I'd read (and enjoyed) the first few of them years ago...

It was a delight to rediscover Rowland's version of late 1600's Japan, with all of its trappings of propriety, and Sano Ichiro's keen mind. I did find with this one that the "twist" wasn't much of a surprise, but I may have had a bit of an inside scoop. I don't want to say too much and give it away though. Regardless, the characters are well-written, and
Izzie Kikue
Dec 09, 2008 Izzie Kikue rated it it was ok
I was glad to find out that this book was the weakest of Rowland's series because I'll give it a go with another book and see if it will be better for me the second time around. The setting in Japan, I loved and dazzled over, however the characters seemed weak. I kept waiting to latch on to them emotionally as I normally do when reading through novels, but I was disappointed, for the connection didn't happen.
Apr 23, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was ok
I was really excited by this series and really disappointed by this book. The reviews hinted that there would be a lot of political intrigue, intricate setting, and really good characters (all things I love in a book). I thought it was lackluster in all those things. Some of the other reviews said this was the weakest in the series, so maybe I'll try to start at the beginning.
Aug 12, 2007 Jody rated it it was ok
This may be the weakest story in the series (of about 12 novels!) but I love the setting in 17th century Edo. Rohland populates the city with colorful characters and a creates a sense of political drama which is well researched and believable. Start with the first books and see how you like them!
Aug 12, 2013 Diana rated it really liked it
Certain themes are getting tiresome: Always at some point in her books are dramatic mistrust between Sano and Lady Reiko and pedophiles. However, this book came to a banging good "solve" very near the end of the book. I was wondering how she was going to pull it off, but she did.
Jan 10, 2011 Steven rated it really liked it
Another good seventeenth century feudal Japan mystery story--a real page turner. At first, Sano's thoughts toward the end seemed out of character. However, upon reflection, I thought that perhaps it was reasonable because a person's character can be influenced by his experiences.
Aug 01, 2008 Tess rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this series. I am not usually a mystery reader, but this series is full of history of the EDO period in Japan. I find it fascinating.All the others in the series are really good also, especially the Pillowbook of Lady Wisteria and the Dragon King's Palace.
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Granddaughter of Chinese and Korean immigrants, Laura Joh Rowland grew up in Michigan and where she graduated with a B.S. in microbiology and a Master of Public Health at the University of Michigan. She currently lives in New Orleans with her husband. She has worked as a chemist, microbiologist, sanitary inspector and quality engineer.
More about Laura Joh Rowland...

Other Books in the Series

Sano Ichiro (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • Shinju (Sano Ichiro, #1)
  • Bundori (Sano Ichiro, #2)
  • The Way of the Traitor  (Sano Ichiro, #3)
  • The Concubine's Tattoo (Sano Ichiro, #4)
  • The Samurai's Wife (Sano Ichiro, #5)
  • Black Lotus (Sano Ichiro, #6)
  • The Pillow Book of Lady Wisteria (Sano Ichiro, #7)
  • The Dragon King's Palace (Sano Ichiro, #8)
  • The Perfumed Sleeve (Sano Ichiro, #9)
  • The Assassin's Touch (Sano Ichiro, #10)

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